Inventory of Government-Based Family Justice Services

Legal Aid Ontario

Province/Territory
Ontario

Type of service
Family Court Services

Services offered
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) promotes access to justice throughout Ontario by providing high quality legal aid services for low-income individuals.

Legal Aid Ontario provides a variety of services for family matters, including:

  • Toll-free services including summary legal advice, referrals and the processing of certificate applications.
  • Certificates: allow eligible clients to retain the services of private bar lawyers.
  • Separation Agreement  and Independent Legal Advice Certificates: help families address their legal issues using consensual dispute resolution.
  • Advice lawyer services through Family Law Information Centres (FLIC).
  • Mediation services (select locations) and Settlement Conferences.
  • A variety of services through:
    • Family Law Service Centres: http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/type_familylawservicecentres.asp (English).
    • Family Law Offices and an Integrated Legal Service Office; http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/type_familylawoffices.asp (English)
    • Scarborough Family Law Services located at 4 Community Legal Clinics (Scarborough, West Scarborough, Flemingdon and East Toronto) and a Community Services Hub (East Scarborough Storefront): provides summary legal advice, document preparation services and limited family court based assistance. 
    • Family law services provided in community locations in the west end of Toronto at the Safe Centre of Peel (Brampton), York Region Centre for Community Safety, Community Legal Clinic of York region, Mississauga Community Legal Services, Rexdale Community Legal Services, LAMP Community Health Centre and Women’s Habitat: provides summary legal advice, document preparation services and limited family court based assistance. 
    • Community-based family law services provided through the Family Violence Project of Waterloo Region at Carizon in Kitchener, Langs Community Health Centre in Cambridge, and Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis.
    • Document preparation services at the Belleville courthouse and the Napanee Legal Aid Office, by appointment. 
    • The Halton Legal Service Centre offers a variety of legal services, including the following family law services: document preparation, summary legal advice, and referrals to lawyers and social service agencies. 
    • Staff lawyers in Cobourg, Peterborough, Kingston, Belleville, Napanee, Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins, Simcoe County, Bracebridge, Thunder Bay and Fort Frances.
    • Community-based legal advice services located on First Nation reserves or at Indigenous community organizations, including:
      • Animbijgoo Zaagiigan Anishinaabek
      • Biiniitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek
      • Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek
      • Pic Mobert First Nation
      • Wikwemikong First Nation
      • Auni-Aundek Community Legal Clinic
      • Sagamok First Nation
      • Sudbury Native Friendship Centre
      • Parry Sound Friendship Centre
      • Barrie Friendship Centre
      • Peel Aboriginal Network
      • Six Nations of the Grand River
      • Native Women’s Centre
      • Saugeen First Nation
      • Chippewas of Nawash
      • Oneida Settlement
      • Munsee Delaware
      • Chippewas of the Thames First Nation
      • Walpole Island First Nation
      • Aamjiwnaang First Nation
      • Kettle and Stony Point First Nation
      • CanAm Urban Native Homes Windsor.
    • Community-based summary legal advice clinic offered at certain community legal clinics, community centres and shelters.
  • Family duty counsel: assists unrepresented individuals in court with matters such as child custody or support and with child protection matters. More information is available at: http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/eligibility.asp (English) French).
  • Family Law Information Program (FLIP): A free online resource for families, former spouses and partners, to help them make more informed decisions about legal and emotional issues that often arise at the end of a relationship. FLIP can be accessed at: http://legalaid.on.ca/data/hidden/FLIP_en/player.html (English).
  • The Family Violence Authorization Program provides individuals experiencing domestic violence with a two hour consultation with a private lawyer. Referrals are available through shelters and community organizations. 
  • LAO provides family law services to individuals who have experienced domestic violence at the Safe Centre of Peel, the York Region Centre for Community Safety, and at shelters in certain locations.
  • Community legal clinics: Legal help is also available to low-income individuals and disadvantaged communities through independent community legal clinics. More information is available at: http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/contact/contact.asp?type=cl  (English)
  • Student Legal Aid Service Societies: Family law assistance is available at 6 Ontario law schools: the University of Toronto’s Downtown Legal Services, Osgoode Hall Law School’s Community and Legal Aid Services Program, Queen’s University’s Queen’s Legal Aid, the University of Ottawa’s Community Legal Clinic, Western University’s Community Legal Services, and the University of Windsor’s Community Legal Aid.

Pilot or ongoing service
Ongoing service

Department responsible
Legal Aid Ontario

How to access this service

  • call Legal Aid Ontario toll-free at 1-800-668-8258
  • visit http://www.legalaid.on.ca

Language(s)
English and French. LAO’s toll-free number offers services in 200 languages, including 18 Aboriginal languages and dialects, through the use of simultaneous translation services.

Publications/information
Legal Aid Ontario’s website at http://www.legalaid.on.ca. For publications, go to the “Publications & Resources” section on the website.

Brochures available at: http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/publications/brochures.asp

Costs
Legal Aid Ontario services generally do not cost anything for qualified applicants. Clients who have some money or own property may have to enter a contribution agreement to repay some or all of their legal fees.

Governing legislation/legislative authority
The Legal Aid Services Act, 1998. Available online at http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/publications/reference.asp

Contact person(s)
Call toll-free at 1-800-668-8258, for information.

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